Ben Blobaum – Program Director. Ben has been a missionary in Chicago since 2008, doing prison, gang, and ex-offender ministry. He has significant experience in a variety of correctional and post-release facilities, including Cook County Jail, Stateville Prison, Crossroads and the North Lawndale ATC (work-release centers), and two residential recovery homes. Most substantially, though, Ben’s work has been with “returned citizens,” helping them head in a new direction by taking hold of hope in Christ – hope that won’t fail.
As our full-time Program Director, Ben leads both our Under the Door prison ministry and our Inside-Out Connections re-entry ministry. He is excited to be pioneering a new approach to congregation-based prison/re-entry ministry. It is Ben’s belief that, in prison cells right now, God is developing leaders that the church in the twenty-first century desperately needs. What drives him? Ben really loves people. His great joy is one-on-one discipleship with those who want to discover their true identity in Christ. Say hi or ask Ben a question right here.
Fred Nelson – Executive Director. Fred is the lead pastor of Redeemer Church, a multisite congregation in Park Ridge and Chicago, Illinois. A former missionary in Bangladesh and expert in Christian-Muslim relations, Fred has had a long-standing passion to share the Gospel wherever God leads him. He has been involved in prison ministry since 2006, working at Stateville Prison, in Joliet, Illinois. Fred has served at Stateville as a volunteer with Prison Fellowship, has taught the Alpha Course, and has led more than sixty different volunteers to distribute more than 8,000 Bibles and pray with inmates over the past few years. In 2011, he was recognized as Stateville’s volunteer of the year. In 2012, after several years of collaborating with inmates and ex-inmates, Fred published the Spiritual Survival Guide for Prison and Beyond in the hope that it might bring hope, practical wisdom, and the light and love of Christ into some dark places.
Because of Christ’s call and claim on his life, Fred sees himself fundamentally as a change-agent – an evangelistic agent of Christ’s life-changing hope – to everyone he meets, but especially to those who are feeling hopeless. To email Fred, click here.